Why a growth mindset could be one of your organisation’s most powerful funding tools

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By Ben Pecotich and Poppy Rouse, Dynamic4

The shockwaves from the COVID-19 crisis have shaken many organisations to the core.

With traditional fundraising methods on hold, now is the time to be asking ourselves, “How can we explore new funding opportunities to ensure that we can deliver on our mission?”

In order to do this, we need to start with a “growth mindset.”

Ben Pecotich is founder, designer and innovation coach at Dynamic4

Mindset theory, developed by Stanford-based Professor Carol Dweck, focuses on the belief systems that drive failure, learning and intelligence.

Professor Dweck coined the terms “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset” to differentiate between people who see failure as a reason to give up (fixed mindset), and those who see failure as a learning opportunity (growth mindset).

The theory is applied by organisations ranging from primary schools to multinationals to drive behavioural and cultural change, particularly in relation to learning and innovation.

In an environment where it’s clear that old funding models aren’t working, it’s never been more important that we harness a growth mindset and look at how we can do things differently.

For two decades, Dynamic4 has worked with hundreds of founders to take their social enterprise ideas from the “idea” stage to the “feasible business” stage.

Poppy Rouse is strategic design principal at Dynamic4

Here’s our five-step guide to diversifying your funding streams based on some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way.

1. Create the space for teams to explore new opportunities. Creating a diverse portfolio of fundraising opportunities doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of time, and many tough conversations. You must ensure that your organisation is given the time and space where different ideas can be explored without fear of failure.

2. Acknowledge what wasn’t working and get curious as to why. Following an unprecedented bushfire season and the COVID-19 pandemic, many organisations are realising that their previous approach to fundraising cannot withstand a seismic shift in day-to-day life. It is important to acknowledge this, then to research why. Taking time to define what needs to change is an important first step. Without really understanding why something isn’t working, how can you be sure you’re putting the correct steps in place to improve?

3. Be aware of fixed mindsets in the boardroom. Change can be very scary. Feeling nervous, frozen or afraid of taking risks is totally normal, especially in organisations where the wellbeing of whole communities lies in our hands. It is important that those who have harnessed a growth mindset guide their colleagues with a fixed mindset into understanding that risks may need to be taken.

4. Get comfortable with the discomfort of trying new things, failing and learning. At some point along the way, failure is inevitable. When it happens, it’s important you don’t fall back into a fixed mindset. Remind yourself that failure is merely an opportunity for learning and take the lessons you learned from the experience forward.

5. Experiment before you implement the necessary changes. Taking an experimental approach will allow you to manage the risks associated with your ideas before you fully implement them. Test your ideas early and often so that by the time you roll them out to market, you can be sure that they will add strength to your organisation’s fundraising portfolio.

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Innovation Week webinars What’s the role of the board in innovation? How can your organisation explore new models of funding?

Funding webinar How to diversify your organisation’s funding with the seven pillars.

Dynamic4 This year, Dynamic4 is launching its Thrive incubator program to coach and empower NFP teams to explore a new earned income opportunity for their organisation. Dynamic4’s goal is to help NFPs become more sustainable so they can continue to focus on doing what they do best: supporting, protecting, and empowering the community. Find out more at Dynamic4.com.

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